A number of acquaintances are heading to Washington, D.C., the last weekend of August and I would really like to be there too. It’s the 47th anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech by Martin Luther King, Jr., and dueling events on the Mall promise to expose how far America has strayed from the noble revolutions of the nation’s founding and the Civil Rights Movement.
The absolute last thing that restoring honor within ourselves and the country, paying tribute to our military and reclaiming MLK Jrs.’ dream should be is divisive. Yet two buffoons who profit well from divisiveness and race baiting are making a mockery of their stated aims of unity, and both must be called to task for their deed.
Conservative talk show host Glenn Beck, whose on-air persona channels Tammy Fay Baker’s delivery style minus the makeup, scheduled his Restoring Honor rally in conflict with a march planned by the Rev. Al Sharpton and the unveiling of a the MLK monument. Sharpton’s designer suits and James Brown hair styling cannot disguise the hucksterism behind the bluster.
“For Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin to have a march, they have the right to do so. Many of us suspect they are using the symbolism of that day in a way that does not reflect what the day is about,” Rev, Al Sharpton said. “At no point will we interchange. We will not desecrate the march and what King stood for.”
In defense of his choice of the same date, Glenn Beck said, “whites don’t own the Founding Fathers. Whites don’t own Abraham Lincoln. Blacks don’t own Martin Luther King. Humans, humans embrace their ideas or reject their ideas.”
It is the messengers, not the messages they espouse, that are misguided and wrong on so many levels. Beck and Sharpton specialize in the trivialization of the issues and emotional kick-to-the-gut appeals and psychological manipulation. Each has found their financially lucrative niche and watching them perform convinces many of us that spreading their version of the message to America is secondary to personal fame and gain.
Beck and Sharpton present malicious caricatures of the miraculous accomplishments of the Founding Fathers and MLK, Jr. The separatist nature of their simultaneous events bears the truth of both men’s’ rejection of the unity evoked by America and the Civil Rights movement. The honor, sense of duty and the content of the character are lacking in these populist usurpers and those who promulgated the causes Beck and Sharpton espouse would be ashamed of both of them.
I’d like to be there for these events, hoping an epiphany of divine revelation would manifest in their hearts as it does in so many Americans who are not fooled by profiteers.